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J Clin Psychiatry. 1994 Sep;55 Suppl B:94-7.

Plasma clozapine and haloperidol concentrations in adolescents with childhood-onset schizophrenia: association with response.

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Clinical Center Pharmacy Department, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Md 20892.



Plasma clozapine and haloperidol concentrations were studied in adolescents being treated for childhood-onset schizophrenia.


Eleven patients (9 boys, 2 girls; mean age = 14.1 +/- 2.1 years) received a 6-week blinded or open trial of clozapine. Five patients also received 6 weeks of blinded or open haloperidol. Doses were increased on an individual basis to a mean 6-week dose of 5.99 +/- 2.6 mg/kg/day for clozapine and 0.24 +/- 0.20 mg/kg/day for haloperidol. The Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale and Bunney Hamburg Rating Scale were completed weekly for each subject. Weekly blood samples were obtained during therapy and assayed by high performance liquid chromatography.


The mean clozapine level at Week 6 was 378.3 ng/mL and ranged from 77.5 to 1050 ng/mL. The mean Week 6 haloperidol level was 23.0 ng/mL (range, 6.2-44.3 ng/mL). The clozapine desmethyl and N-oxide metabolites achieved mean concentrations of 77% and 18%, respectively, of those of the parent compound. The mean ratio of haloperidol/reduced haloperidol was 4.48 (range, 0.76-8.76). Clozapine concentrations versus clinical benefit exhibited a consistent linear relationship among patients (correlation range, 0.26-0.96). Conversely, poor and inconsistent correlations between haloperidol concentrations and clinical effects were observed. No relationships were noted between clozapine or haloperidol dose and clinical effects.


Adolescents with schizophrenia produce a greater amount of desmethylclozapine than previously seen in adults. Plasma clozapine concentrations appear to be related in a linear fashion to clinical improvement.

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